Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364 or rescntr@ire.org where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "child labor" ...

  • Cosecha de Miseria (Harvest of Misery)

    A yearlong investigation by Telemundo and The Weather Channel gathered evidence that child labor is commonplace during the coffee harvest in Chiapas, the poorest state in Mexico -- illustrating in stark, human terms the failures and limitations of an elaborate global system of third-party monitoring established by the coffee industry to assure its sourcing is ethical, and a violation of international agreements and laws meant to prohibit child labor. By following the supply chain to the source, the investigation also revealed how global agreements and the laws of nations prohibit such labors by children, who were found filling and lugging heavy bags of coffee while living in harsh conditions. Result: A documentary in which reporters take viewers on a gritty, real-world tour to the bottom of the murky coffee supply chain, where feel-good marketing clashes with harsh realities socially conscious consumers may find surprising if not shocking.
  • “Leaves of Poison” and “Dying on the Farm”

    More than 75 years ago, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) was signed into law. A groundbreaking achievement in the fight against child labor, the FLSA banned children from mines and factories, while also granting the Secretary of Labor the authority to protect youth from working in any other hazardous occupations. This series on child labor in agriculture uncovers how loopholes in the law continue to put child farm workers as young as 12 at risk for grave illness, injury, and death. It shows how the agriculture lobby fought back in 2012, blocking new rules that would have closed these loopholes — and that children have died as a result. “Leaves of Poison” focuses on the use of children as young as 12 to harvest tobacco in Southern tobacco fields. Tobacco is a notoriously hazardous crop, exposing field workers to acute nicotine poisoning, with symptoms that can include dizziness, vomiting, difficulty breathing, and heart rate fluctuations requiring hospitalization. The plants are also sprayed with high doses of pesticides, which pose special dangers to adolescents whose nervous systems are still developing. These dangers have led countries such as Russia and Khazakstan to ban minors from tobacco work, and the United States has donated millions to eradicate child tobacco labor overseas. But a proposed rule by the Department of Labor banning children from the harvest (and other particularly “hazardous” tasks) was withdrawn by Obama administration officials in response to concerted lobbying by the American Farm Bureau. “Dying on the Farm” was an ambitious effort to track how many child laborers have died since those rules were scuttled in April 2012, which would have barred them from performing particularly “hazardous” tasks, such as harvesting tobacco, working in manure pits and grain silos, or using heavy power machinery. The investigation shows that child farmworkers “fall through the cracks” when it comes to government tallies of work-related injuries and deaths. Nevertheless, using FOI requests to Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Workers’ Compensation offices, surveying local press clippings, and speaking with medical practitioners who work directly with farmworkers we found that at least four young farm workers-for-hire have been killed and 39 injured while doing these hazardous tasks since the rules were withdrawn. Both “Leaves of Poison” and “Dying on the Farm” movingly tell the personal stories of young workers at a risk.
  • Children in the Fields

    One Congresswoman calls it America’s dirty secret: children, some as young as eight years old, working full-time in agricultural fields across the United States. During the last year, NBC’s Bay Area Investigative Unit uncovered that secret activity, put together a project that gained national attention and prompted action in the United States Congress. And we discovered it is not just California where this is happening. NBC Bay Area’s Investigative Unit partnered with CNBC to expose similar instances of children working in the fields across the United States.
  • America Now: Children of the Harvest

    Children of the Harvest takes viewers into the lives migrant farm workers in America. Dateline found children as young as five were performing backbreaking work.
  • The Blueberry Children

    This investigation reveals that child labor is still a large issue in the United States. They found children “as young as 5 years old” in the fields picking fruits and vegetables. The child labor laws are rarely enforced, which is why nothing was being done to stop this practice. Further, many of these children were picking blueberries, which were some of the largest blueberry fields and were supplying national grocery store chains.
  • Blue Bin Kids

    KOB looked at children "working alone and late at night on Albuquerque streets and at gas stations." The children said they were part of a group called "'South West Pride,' a so-called after school program that allows kids to make money." However, New Mexico Labor Department had never licensed the group, and the group broke laws by having children work so late and alone.
  • Making money, raising eyebrows

    "An examination by the Sun shows that the pension fund's $23 billion portfolio contains investments in companies that do business with rogue nations or whose practices contribute to social or environmental ills in direct opposition to the United States and Nevada policies."
  • The Heartless Stone; a journey through the world of diamonds, deceit and desire

    This book is the result of Zoellner's investigation into the diamond industry. It covers the continuing problem of 'blood diamonds' in Africa, the scandal of child labor in polishing factories in India, and the pricing manipulations of De Beers Consolidated Mines Ltd.
  • Shameful Harvest

    This investigation exposed how U.S. and California-based supermarket chains, including the Wal-Mart, indirectly contribute to illegal child labor by buying produce from countries where child labor is common, if not legal. Reporters made three trips to Mexico to talk to laborers; their strong commitment to the story helped them to understand and report on the complex distribution system that starts in foreign fields and end in the supermarket.
  • Slaves to fashion?

    From the contest entry summary: "Slaves to Fashion?" is the product of a yearlong investigation into illegal child labor in India's silk industry and its multi-million dollar connection to American retailers." Using hidden cameras, the reporters find that India's silk industry is violent and highly secretive; American companies cannot take at face value Indian manufacturers' claims -- often in writ -- that no child labor has been used in silk production; and many fashion designers are unaware that silk products labeled "Made in Italy" often come from India.